26 June 1931 – 5 December 2013
Requiescat in pace
Colin Wilson, whom I had known since the turn of the 1970s, exchanging correspondence on largely esoteric matters of mutual interest, has died. He suffered a stroke last June, causing him to lose his speech.
Whilst struggling to become an established writer after finishing National Service, he came to London and slept on Hampstead Heath, close to Highgate Cemetery, for a period of time. The picture (above) shows him on Hampstead Heath in 1956.
I am first referred to in his writings in The Occult, published in 1971. The book covered subjects such as Aleister Crowley, George Gurdjieff, Helena Blavatsky, Kabbalah, primitive magic, Franz Mesmer, Grigori Rasputin, Daniel Dunglas Home, Paracelsus, P D Ouspensky, William Blake, Giacomo Casanova, Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa, and various other topics, including vampirism. He was also a good friend of my colleague Peter Underwood and was an active member of The Ghost Club.
Colin first came to prominence as a philosopher and novelist, writing widely on true crime, mysticism, the paranormal and other mysteries. He preferred calling his philosophy new existentialism or phenomenological existentialism.
He once said:
"I had taken it for granted that I was a man of genius since I was about thirteen."
For a short few months after the publication of his first book The Outsider in 1956, it seemed that the rest of the world thought so too.